Secret report: Novichok leak from Marsalek damaged Austria

Germany classified report

How Nowitschok’s flight from Marsalek badly damaged Austria’s reputation

Former Wirecard board member Marsalek: he bragged about Nowichok docs Former Wirecard board member Marsalek: he bragged about Nowichok docs

Former Wirecard board member Marsalek: he bragged about Nowichok docs

Which: pa/SvenSimon/Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON

Before leaking, Wirecard director Jan Marsalek handled sensitive documents about the Russian neurotoxin Novichok. Austria speaks internally of “serious attacks on the republic”. A Secret Service man defends himself against the charge of aiding the escape.

VBefore disappearing from Germany in June 2020, Jan Marsalek, then director of Wirecard, handled sensitive documents – which he bragged about to third parties.

In 2018, Marsalek allegedly obtained a copy of a report classified by the Austrian authorities as “secret” by the International Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on the Novichok attack on defector Sergei Skripal in March 2018 in Salisbury, England, which was attributed to Russia had created.

WELT AM SONNTAG now has a confidential report from the Austrian Federal Anti-Corruption Office on this subject. The July 13, 2021 report shows that according to authorities, Marsalek was in fact in possession of a copy of the sensitive documents – thanks to sources in Vienna.

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cut the poison

In its secret report, the anti-corruption authority writes that the data leak seriously damaged the reputation of the Republic of Austria. “The illegal disclosure of sensitive and classified information and documents”, which then found their “way to Jan Marsalek”, rejects “massively Austria in international cooperation and seriously damages the reputation of our republic”, has declared authority.

The newspaper also underlined the great importance that access to these documents had for the Russian side at the time: pressure to obtain information on the state of the investigations in the West.

A former intelligence agent speaks for the first time

In an interview with WELT AM SONNTAG and Bayerischer Rundfunk, former Austrian secret service agent Martin Weiss, who is under investigation into Marsalek’s disappearance in Vienna and Munich, made his first public statement.

The former head of department of the Austrian Office for the Protection of the Constitution was still in contact with Marsalek months after his disappearance. In a meeting with reporters in Dubai, Weiss said he received calls from the official subject to the arrest warrant via encrypted messaging services Signal or Threema until spring 2021. Then contact was broken. Weiss information cannot be verified.

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Weiss, who now works for a finance and investment firm in Dubai, denied the allegation of aiding the escape.

Marsalek flew to Minsk on June 19, 2020 from Bad Vöslau in Austria. It had previously been learned that the balance sheet of the German payment service provider was missing a sum of 1.9 billion euros. Marsalek reportedly wanted to travel to the Philippines to help clarify the matter. But instead, he probably went to Moscow, where, according to the findings of the Federal Intelligence Service, he could have been hiding under the protection of the Russian secret service.

A day before the escape, Weiss had attended a meal with Marsalek in Munich, who had asked him to arrange a flight. However, he does not see himself as an escape helper, as he said during the meeting in Dubai. He pointed out that the arrest warrant for Marsalek was only issued a few days later, on June 22, 2020.

“Like a wedding”

Weiss said he contacted Marsalek after leaving the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in 2018. He had met him three years earlier in a Viennese ministry. “I asked him if he had something for me. He then spoke of a start-up.” It was the holding company of a business friend of Marsalek in Munich, for which he had worked on several projects.

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Fugitive director Jan Marsalek (pictured in mug) continues to employ former CEO Braun (right).

The former Secret Service agent describes Marsalek as cosmopolitan and knowledgeable. “I would characterize him as someone you can talk to about any subject, in many languages.” Although prosecutors are also investigating Weiss because of the theft and possible illegal investigative orders, his remarks do not sound like rancor. “It’s like that in life. Almost like a wedding. They don’t know if it’s going well or not.”

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